Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Little Better

The predicted rain did not materialize much over the past week but we did catch a few more birds. Only two weeks remain in our 2011-2012 Session. Then we pack up for the months of June and July. By then the humidity should return and we will all be happy sleep in.

Still, work to do today so we got things in gear with the help of a visitor, Lauren, and listened to the dawn chorus at sunrise. The Barred Owls were not heard this morning but Richard and Christine did see one fly across the road as they approached the parking area. No Towhee calls, either, but we did finally get a Chuck-wills-widow to give us a few calls before the morning began.

Our first catch of the day was an infrequent animal. A Little Brown Bat. We do get one or two every session but we usually don't get a good photo. Andrew used a holding bag to secure the bat while Christine managed to free its legs and wings. We then walked it back to the table for a photo and then released it safely into the morning air.

Little Brown Bat

A few minutes later, Charles announced that was something in Net 3. The bat had just flown in that direction so we feared the worse. Fortunately, it was our first bird of the day. A Common Yellowthroat.

Common Yellowthroat

Shortly thereafter, Richard returned from his round and delivered a Red-winged Blackbird which Lauren got to band. Add another adult female to this species list.

Red-winged Blackbird

Things soon grew quiet and we did our rounds and kept an eye out for anything special. Nope. The bull gator did finally glide across the lake but there was not much activity anywhere for a stretch. We did notice that the Button Bushes are moving into full bloom. Such an intricate and fascinating flower.

Button Bush

During one run we noticed some little noises that seemed to be coming from an overhead branch in one of the dead trees near the end of the net lanes. Closer inspection revealed a pair of Downy Woodpeckers coming and going to a small hole where the chicks were calling for food. Here, the male makes a quick leap from home to find more insects.

Downy Woodpecker

He didn't usually have to go too far. We followed the sounds of some baby Cardinals into the shade and the woodpecker zoomed in. He inspected each branch and crevice before making a catch and returning to the tree.

Downy Woodpecker

When things get too quiet, Andrew hops the river. Some smaller gators were seen and Purple Gallinules waded through the vegetation on the far side of the lake. Closer to the pier, a Common Gallinule poses in all its silky glory. Love those feet!

Common Gallinule

Along the boardwalk next to the river a Red-shouldered Hawk flew off but led to the discovery of another that has recently left the nest.

Red-shouldered Hawk

With things being quiet we decided to call it a morning. Just as we were closing the nets we made 3 more captures. Out near the lake we got our second Common Yellowthroat.

Common Yellowthroat

Over at Net 9, Charles got two juvenile Northern Cardinals. Both females. You can easily tell the younger birds by their black bills and yellow gape still present. Cardinal bills turn their familiar orange as they reach adulthood.

Northern Cardinal

That wraps our morning! Forecast is again calling for a better chance of rain for the next week. We shall see...
Next (planned) Banding Day: Sunday, May 20th.
All nets will be opened by 6:00 A.M.

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